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Spiritual Progression Conference – John Devine

17 March 11

Spiritual Progression in Economic Recession? John Devine, the Churches’ Officer for the North-West, presented the final “Think Piece” at this day conference held in Chester on 17th March 2011.

John Devine’s appointment to that position dated from the faith organisations’ need to be represented as stakeholders at the tier of regional government and society. [Since then, he said, “regional” has been written out of the script by the present government.] Regional Development Agencies had proved hard to relate to from a faith angle. They focused on economic output and wanted statistics, because without measures nothing seemed to exist, and they weren’t interested in the angle on faith which interested local councils, which was usually in the area of equality and ethnicity.

There was also a divide between faith-based organisations in the voluntary sector, and the worshipping communities, which is where much of the “social capital” lay, even if they did not use that terminology. However, a realistic and appreciative relation had developed under Labour, though the Coalition’s rhetoric in the face of the facts is that faith is now being taken seriously following a secular-dominated period (see earlier suggestionms for amendment). But now there’s no money.

The challenge in the 2000s was how to find funding for what faith bodies can do and deliver with their buildings and people. One demonstration deployed over that last decade [shown in the accompanying slides] was matching on a map that clusters of worshipping communities in the North-West coincide geographically to a high degree with areas of identified social need (see earlier suggestions). What faiths now need to do is similarly to discover for today what the grain of the Big Society is, and how to frame what they can offer in terms which will be understood. Read more about the conference and access further podcasts from here. Duration: 13:30.

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Associated file:

John Devine Presentation2.ppt

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